Before she became the supermodel we all know, Helena Christensen fell in love with photography. It started when she was young, when she was poring over her grandparents’ black-and-white photo albums. In her late teens she traveled around the world, capturing the memories she made with a film camera. After that, she began modeling, but modeling was always a way to one day pursue a career as a photographer.
She has exhibited her photos internationally, having trained with masters like Mary Ellen Mark, and has been commissioned by organizations like Oxfam and UNHCR. She recently returned from a visit to a refugee camp in Rwanda with UNHCR.
She described her relationship with her subject as one of trust. When she works, she keeps the images of the photography greats in the back of her mind—photographers like Helmut Newton, who provided the inspiration for the shoot with her by Kat Irlin for this story. Christensen also had the chance to model for Newton, and remembers feeling at ease with him, thanks to his ironic humor.